Hillary Lost: Get Over It

All the post-election moaning, whining and carrying on by Clinton supporters is embarrassing to them and their followers. It’s time to face the facts of this election and to move on.

Some are whining because Hillary’s total popular vote topped Trump’s, but that’s irrelevant because that’s not the game they were playing. The Constitution says the winner is the candidate who wins a majority of the electoral college votes which are based on the population of each states as defined by seats in the House of Representatives plus two votes for the members of the Senate. That’s why Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North and South Dakota and Vermont each get three votes while California with 53 House members gets 55.

The losers want to change the rules of the game after it was played. Good luck, but it isn’t going to happen now or in the near future.

Should the electoral college be eliminated?

No! There are good reasons the person who gets the most “popular” votes should not be the winner. Not only would that make all but a few large states irrelevant, but it would change what campaigns are about, making it much easier for the person who raises the most money to win. That would be bad for our republican (small r) form of government.

The results of the 2016 campaign reflected the current rules. Clinton campaigned in the closing days in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Why? At one point she thought she was going to win by a land-slide and thought of campaigning in red states to try to alter control of the Senate, but her own polling showed her to be in danger in those four states. It is significant that she LOST all four states where she made the greatest effort to win.

The Liberal Double-Standard

A double-standard is when you advocate something for others that you aren’t willing to do yourself. Liberals are past masters at doing so, and this election is a perfect example.

Some want enough GOP’s electors to vote for Clinton to reverse the results. Not only isn’t that going to happen, but what would it mean if it did? Are you really advocating someone go back on their word? Should electors betray the people who voted for Trump in their states? Is that something you’d tolerate had Clinton won? I don’t think so.

What about those who call for Trump to abandon his campaign promises and retain Obama’s policies? They advocate this claiming the popular vote should dictate. Again, we have to ask had Clinton won in a close race, would you have tolerated Trump supporters calling on Clinton to abandon her policies for Trump’s? Hardly!

For Crying Out Loud

There’s been a lot of moaning and whining about the election results. College professors gave students the day off, and students could get free puppies and coloring books at one college. Why not baby bottles filled with chocolate milk, too?

But face it people: all this crying is a result of the Clinton campaign strategy to try to win the election by going LOW, by focusing on Trump’s negatives––some of which he provided, others they simply made up or were responsible for, such as the violence at some Trump campaign events that were instigated by paid Democrat Party protestors.

Giving in to the fear your party created is not becoming nor is it rational. You may not like some of the policies Trump and Congress will bring about, but right now you don’t know what will happen. You don’t know which policies Trump advocated during the campaign will see the light of day or in what form or whether Congress will go along or whether the courts will upload them.

Take the Supreme Court for example. First, he has to nominate a candidate; the Senate has to consent and the person has to take his or her seat. Then any issue you are fearful about has to be brought to the Court in the form of a case passed up by the lower courts. Not only can that take years, but the outcome of any case cannot be predicted in advance. Despite Justice Roberts’ recent rulings, justices swear to uphold the Constitution, not advance a president’s agenda. Maybe a Trump appointee will be more honorable than Roberts and other liberal justices have been.

I don’t expect you Democrats to go away or stop advocating your positions, but I suggest you abandon the silly season issues of the electoral college and focus on why you lost before you try to prevent Trump and Congress from implementing the changes the public is demanding. You lost because people did not want more of your party’s policies. They did not want more economic stagnation, or more foreign policy set backs, or more expensive and intrusive government interference with every aspect of their lives. They wanted America to be great again, which means they realize America is not what it could be. Maybe you should listen and look for ways to help bring about a revival of our society, to lift people up instead of tearing them down, and to being once again a beacon on the hill for those less fortunate throughout the world.

Is it okay for candidates to change their views and other issues challenging our democracy

One of Marketplace’s political pundits recently attacked Donald Trump for being a phony. His proof? Some of Trump’s views today aren’t what he espoused fifteen, twenty years ago. On another front I see people taking positions on issues based on who is in favor (or opposed). Both approaches are easy to fall into, but both ultimately are dangerous because in a democracy it is important that people form and defend views shaped by careful consideration rather than toeing a party line or basing their views on someone else’s.

Let’s examine the notion that a candidate is not being honest if he has changed his views on a topic such as abortion or immigration. Why do we assume that he changed his view for an illegitimate reason? This criticism suggests people who change their views are not to be trusted, when in fact the opposite should be true––to wit, anyone whose views have not changed based on experience and/or changes in external conditions is likely out of touch with reality.

Consider population control––today a not-very-controversial issue, but in 1968, many readers of Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb were won over to the notion that governments needed to impose stringent measures immediately to curtail a population growth rate that would doom the planet. It became clear fairly soon that Ehrlich was wrong, but his predictions inflicted damage, convincing many people not to have children or to limit family size. Would someone who was once convinced by Ehrlich but later recognized his predictions were wrong be unworthy of trust? Of course not.

What about a candidate’s changing his view on a topic because poll numbers show the public is against him? In some cases, it works out to express to deeply held positions despite public opposition. When Mario Cuomo ran for governor of New York State, he refused to support the death penalty even though the public was in favor by a large margin. The public respected his position and very few voted against him for that reason. What about someone who supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq, but later became a critic? Who can quarrel with that person if the reason for the change was that he obtained information he didn’t have before?

That Donald Trump’s views may have changed should not by itself be an indication of his worthiness for voter support. It should depend on what his views are today and why he changed positions, if in fact he did.

A more difficult problem people have to deal with is considering issues apart from who supports or opposes them. If Rush Limbaugh or Barack Obama are for something, some people are automatically against. Doesn’t that kind of thinking tell the world, “Please don’t let anything get in the way of my biases?”

It’s not easy to come to positions apart from those of people you hate or admire. It can result in others questioning your sanity, but a true democracy requires citizens who are willing to consider and debate issues based on their own reading of the facts, not how other people think.

Some people don’t think they have time to study the issues and therefore have to go along with someone else’s opinion. True, it can be difficult to study an issue such as the Iran deal given the daily barrage from experts in the media, and one can’t assume news outlets are unbiased. Yet there is no lack of information on the major issues of the day if you are willing to search on a topic and read news stories and opinion pieces that reflect opposing sides.

Politically illiteracy jeopardizes our democracy. Too many people’s views are based on choices made at an early age––choices they never subject to serious questioning from one election cycle to another. As Christopher Lasch wrote in his insightful The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (1994), “In the absence of democratic exchange, most people have no incentive to master the knowledge that would make the capable citizens.” (P. 12) Democracy is dependent Lasch states on “a vigorous exchange of ideas and opinions.” Holding regular elections is not enough.

Each citizen should feel capable of finding sufficient information on any issue he cares about in order to form his own position; each citizen should feel a duty to express his opinion in a respectful manner, listening to the other side and challenging his opponents with facts, not name-calling. Each citizen should be inclined to want to vote in elections because the alternative is allowing someone else to make the choice for you.

It’s okay to change one’s views; it’s okay to disagree with someone whom you are inclined to support most of the time; and it’s not just okay, but is a positive social good to challenge other people’s views as long as you can marshal facts and arguments to support your own.

Final thought: When Barack Obama disparages his opponents on the Iran issue, he is undermining a core principle of our democracy. He wants us to support the deal because he tells us to, but that’s wrong. We are not only entitled to form our own views, but the future of our society demands that we do so.